top of page
Artboard 1_4x_edited_edited.png


The Lombardi Award™, presented by the Rotary Club of Houston, takes great pride in recognizing the remarkable accomplishments of the "Seven Blocks of Granite" Champions. These extraordinary individuals have not only upheld the legacy of Vince Lombardi but have also made significant contributions to the advancement of cancer research and the betterment of the lives of cancer patients and their families.

Magazine_Seven_Blocks_documentary_film (Fordham News).jpg

Fordham football’s famed 1936 line, the Seven Blocks of Granite, included Vince Lombardi (front row, third from left) and helped the Rams dominate the sport, capturing the attention of the nation.

"Seven Blocks of Granite"

The title is a tribute to Vince Lombardi's illustrious history as one of the legendary during his tenure at Fordham University.

Meet The Champions


ZoAnn Dreyer, M.D. 

Dr. Dreyer is the Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Professor in Pediatric Cancer Survivorship and Medical Director of the Long-Term Survivor Center at Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, as well as a Professor in Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. Over 1000 childhood cancer survivors are evaluated every year for delayed effects of their prior cancer therapy. Survivors are patients who have been off therapy for at least two years after completing their cancer therapy. She is currently the principal investigator for an innovative, nationwide protocol for infants with acute lymphoid leukemia that has dramatically improved survival rates. Dr. Dreyer is frequently featured in medical stories for Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Dreyer has been involved with the Lombardi Award and a Champion for the Front-Line Kids outreach for over 25 years.


Arif Kamal, M.D., MBA, MHS

Dr. Kamal is the first-ever chief patient officer for the American Cancer Society. He drives the coordinated efforts to accelerate progress against cancer through the organization’s patient-facing activities, leading ACS patient support objectives and developing strategic plans to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families measurably. He oversees clinical leadership, patient navigation, educational programs, lodging and transportation solutions, and all aspects of organizational functions that touch cancer patients across 5000 communities across the globe. Before joining ACS, Dr. Kamal served for more than 12 years as an oncologist, researcher, and innovative leader at Duke University and the Duke Assessment and Palliative Care and continues to keep a small palliative care clinical practice at Duke Cancer Center. In addition to his clinical and academic pursuits at Duke Cancer Center, Dr. Kamal co-founded Prepped Health. This company develops innovative technology solutions to educate and engage patients facing serious illnesses like cancer and their caregivers.


Boyi Gan, Ph.D

Dr. Gan is the N. G. and Helen Hawkins Distinguished Professor for Cancer Research and Director of the Radiation and Cancer Metabolism Research Program in Experimental Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is an exceptional cancer researcher whose groundbreaking discoveries have revolutionized the understanding of cancer cell death and metabolic vulnerability in cancer therapy. Dr. Gan’s critical discoveries and pioneering work have received widespread recognition through numerous awards and grant support. Dr. Gan is an asset to the state of Texas and the field of cancer research. His work has led to the developing of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment, making him a world-renowned scientist.


Raghu Kalluri, M.D, Ph.D 

Dr. Kalluri is the chair and professor of Cancer Biology and Director of the Metastasis Research Center at the University of Texas M.D Anderson Cancer Center. Over his more than 30-year research career, Dr. Kalluri has continuously generated groundbreaking hypotheses and discoveries that have led to widespread recognition, awards, and grants and formed the bedrock of our understanding of the study of cell/tissue microenvironment and its impact on cancer progression and metastasis and tissue injury and repair/regeneration. Dr. Raghu’s strong commitment to training the next generation of scientists is a unique quality reflected in the service he has provided in training over 300 researchers, many now in leadership positions at top institutions across the globe. Colleagues praise Dr. Kalluri as a gifted researcher and mentor who has changed how we think of cancer and its treatment.


Katherine A Hutcheson, Ph.D. 

Dr. Hutcheson is a head and neck surgery professor and section chief of speech pathology and audiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a nationally and internationally recognized master clinician and thought leader in cancer/speech/swallow rehabilitation and outcomes research. Dr. Hutcheson has carried out groundbreaking research studies for the standard of care for the prevention and management of head and neck cancer treatment-related morbidities. She has personally trained numerous clinician-investigators who graduated to become the next generation of field-changing speech/language pathologists and outcomes researchers.


Eric S. Shafer, M.D., MHS

Dr. Schafer is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children’s Cancer Center, where he is a member of the Leukemia Program and Developmental Therapeutics Program. As such, his clinical interests include caring for children with high-risk acute leukemias and children with all cancer types requiring treatment in early-phase clinical trials. He is one of the few physicians in the country to be fellowship-trained and board-certified in pediatric hematology/oncology and clinical pharmacology. He has used this unique training pedigree to develop and lead multiple local, national, and international clinical studies investigating novel therapies, innovative modeling, and advanced monitoring techniques for delivering established chemotherapeutics to make them individualized, more effective, and less toxic. He holds leadership positions in the Therapeutics Advances in Childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma (TACL) consortium. This international organization develops and executes trials of novel therapies in advanced and relapsed/refractory leukemias and lymphomas in children and on the T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) task force within the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), where he will lead the upcoming international study investigating novel drugs and strategies in the treatment of newly diagnosed T-cell ALL and lymphoblastic lymphoma.

nfl_lombardi_01 paint-sepia_edited.jpg

The Lombardi Family

Following the passing of Vince Lombardi, the Rotary Club of Houston received authorization from his widow, Marie Lombardi, and his sister, Madeleine Lombardi Werner, to establish the Lombardi Award. It was established with a clear understanding that the proceeds generated from this award would be dedicated to cancer research. With the unwavering support and active involvement of the Lombardi family, the Lombardi Award has raised millions of dollars for cancer research. Furthermore, the Lombardi family's commitment extends to the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, a tribute to Coach Lombardi's enduring legacy. This foundation is dedicated to preventing cancer, providing the highest quality care to individuals battling cancer, and tirelessly working towards finding a cure for this devastating disease.

bottom of page